Be Still Know
Romans 12.9-10 NLT
‘Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.’
Napoleon once said, “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I founded empires; but upon what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love.” It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of love. Without love there can be no church, no blessing, no joy, no future worth having. Everything depends upon love and here Paul is concerned that the Christians in Rome didn’t make do with a phoney love. He recognised that it is possible to pretend to love other people. We can do it by being superficial and merely polite with others, glancing over the surface of their lives without really engaging with them and their needs. What Paul longed for was for deep, compassionate, sacrificial love which would totally transform their life together.
It is interesting that Paul speaks about love and hatred so close together. But the truth is that the person who loves also knows how to hate. Because if you truly love another person then you will hate with a passion anything that causes them to be hurt or undermined. If they are the victim of injustice, you will be compelled to stand up for them and to defend their cause. Love will not allow you to sit comfortably and merely wish them well. Your love for them will force you to take action.
Nothing that you and I can ever do will be more important than loving other people, and as we do so we need to keep Jesus at the forefront of our thinking. Jesus is the only person who has perfectly lived a life of love. The way in which he cared for people, reached out to the marginalised and was willing to offer even his own life for others, needs to stand before us as the inspiration for our love. Love is never the easiest way, but it is always the best.
Question: Do you think you are ever guilty of merely pretending to love other people?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you that you have shown us perfectly what it means to love. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and enable us to love in the way that you did. Amen
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